Is it time for me to cash in my “phone a friend”?

While I’m a devout netizen and love the ability of the internet to instantly teach me about anything at the click of a mouse, I’m also more reactive than proactive. I often wait for things to come to me and respond out of instinct rather than knowledge. I wasn’t always this way, but I seem to have shifted over time towards encouraging spontaneity over preparation. I let things linger and get to them once they’re too large to ignore. I piece together things out of soundbites, headlines and crumbs of insight gleaned primarily from eavesdropping. What I’m trying to say here is that I’m not quite as hip hop happening as I once was. I don’t have the drive to pursue and investigate that I did in my early 20s. I’m not the trailblazer or opinion leader I once sought to be and consequently, there are many things I know very little about. Let’s see…

  • American Horror Story: It’s the revolving door plot and cast horror story done by that Glee guy, right? That’s about all I know. People I know and love seem to get into it and that guy tends to make engaging TV, so there’s probably something to it. I mean, Glee season 1 was fun, whatever your opinion on the bloated mass it became. I think American Horror Story did something with clowns and insane asylums, which sounds Rob Zombie-esque to be fun. Whether it has the pathos of Killer Klowns from Outer Space is yet to be seen, but few things really do.
  • Rita Ora: I’ve heard the name, but have no concept of who she is. I mean, I gather that she’s a pop star, maybe R&B? Rita Ora sounds like an expensive imported brand of pineapple, which could be pretty sweet. I’ve probably heard a song in passing. It’s like Ariana Grande. The name is inescapable and I used to work at a place where commercial radio was on constant rotation. I no doubt know a track or two, but asking me to name one would be like expecting me to hit a bulls eye with a dart. What I’m trying to say is that I stopped being cool some time ago. Stop believing the hype.
  • Hair products: I know that shampoo and conditioner work. I’ve used them for years and my hair is super soft. Really, it’s quite something. But this isn’t so much about my hair as how it happened. My knowledge of how shampoo and conditioner function is probably identical to that of Insane Clown Posse. If there’s science, it’s a mystery to me. An ex of mine had red hair and told me that because of a higher concentration of iron in her hair, it effectively rusted. A quick Google search could tell me if this was bullshit, but that would invalidate the point of this entry. Do hair products react with the metal in the hair in some kind of chemical reaction? How the hell does one encourage shine? Volume? Colour? This is way too complex for me. Standing in the shampoo aisle of a supermarket gives me sensory overload and I shut down. Out of desperation and embarrassment I just grab one of each and hope for the best.
  • Minecraft: It seems like online lego. Naturally, that seems unbelievably radical (bringing it back). There’s mining for things? Somehow you can combine things to create something bigger? The characters have jetpacks? I’ve never gone near it even though there’s nothing holding me back. As a litmus test for things Leon likes, if a 9 year old boy thinks it’s magical, I probably will too. Kids love Minecraft, so signs point to it being my new favourite thing. Still, I think I need a guiding hand to get me into the game. I’m a little scared, what if I never want to come back to reality?
  • Dr Who: This is kind of cheating. I’ve seen two episodes and I kind of get the premise. He’s effectively a European Hindu with a time travelling phone booth that’s bigger on the inside than the outside. It has a whole rogue’s gallery of campy villains and bizarre situations. One season had that Honey to the B girl and the new one has that guy from Thick of it and In the Loop. His screwdriver does something. There’s a large amount of backstory fleshed out by a host of great writers including Neil Gaiman. It’s kind of silly, but the fanbase is rabid about it. They don’t blink or something. I’m sure I’d like it well enough, I’ve just never bothered getting into it.
  • Vine: I get the premise, but that’s about where it ends. I’m awful at jumping on board social media things. It took me about 8 years to get a Twitter and I don’t even use it. Snapchat amused me for a month. Vine is something different. Having 7 second clips with unlimited edits means you can play on the conventions of the medium. That’s interesting to me. I’ve seen a few Bo Burnham vines and they were pretty clever. Clever is my kind of humour. Still, I don’t know any prominent “viners” or vine celebrities. Geez 2015, is that a thing now? Viners? Like everything else on this list, I’m not shitting on it, I genuinely just don’t know.

This isn’t a list of things I oppose, I just need someone to plant it in front of me and tell me why I should be doing/following/using them. Because I’m reactive, not proactive. C’mon guys, it was in the opening paragraph.


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